Zimbabwe: new report reveals deep misery and crisis deepens

 Amnesty International has released a report that graphically demonstrates the ongoing suffering of Zimbabweans, as the three main political parties struggle to form an inclusive government.

The report, titled: 'Zimbabwe - Time for Accountability' examines the impact of the post-election violence on the victims and makes recommendations to all parties participating in the current political talks on how to break the cycle of impunity that has plagued the country for decades.

"Every day that passes without a political solution, the living conditions for ordinary Zimbabweans become more and more desperate, said Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty's Zimbabwe expert, speaking from Johannesburg.

According to the report, most of the victims of political violence from rural areas were subsistence farmers who were managing to feed their families. Their arms and legs were broken from beatings and torture and they are unable to till their lands during the upcoming farming season, leaving them dependent on food aid, possibly for the rest of their lives.

Lyn, an 86-year-old farmer, was supporting her family with food grown in her fields. She was assaulted in July for not attending President Robert Mugabe,s ZANU-PF party meetings. Her back was injured and her arm broken by war veterans. "I am now disabled. I cannot work in the field. I want to be compensated for the injuries, she told Amnesty.

The international community - particularly Southern African leaders- must not stand by and watch the Zimbabwean people slip deeper and deeper into poverty and despair while their political leaders squabble for political power, Mawanza said.

No one has been held accountable for the gross human rights violations including beatings and torture that occurred in the context of the elections, despite the fact that the attackers are identifiable.

Since 2000, the ZANU-PF government has ignored evidence of human rights violations, thereby exempting perpetrators from any form of accountability and allowing them to believe they can continue with their actions. Breaking this cycle of violations must be a top priority for the new government once it is in place, said Simeon Mawanza.

Source: CISA

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